RORC Caribbean 600 starts in spectacular conditions

Published on February 24th, 2014

(February 24, 2014) – The magnificent international fleet of 60 yachts enjoyed a sparkling start today of warm trade winds, Caribbean swell and brilliant sunshine. As the fleet leaves Antigua in its wake, ahead lays a breath-taking 600 mile course around 11 islands with more twists and turns than the Monte Carlo race track.

“This race has grown in stature and it is not just the boats but the number of professional sailors that are here,” noted RORC CEO, Eddie Warden Owen. “This gives you an idea of how important it is to win this race. However we’ve now got more local boats, more boats crossing the Atlantic from Europe and yachts coming down from America. Sixty yachts starting the RORC Caribbean 600 – that’s pretty impressive for a race that’s only six years old.”

Here is the race update as of 22:25:
Ron O’Hanley’s American Cookson 50, Privateer has come out fighting in defence of their IRC Overall win last year. Privateer leads the entire fleet on time correction, but the leaders on the water are pulling away fast.

The American quartet of Hap Fauth’s JV72, Bella Mente, George Sakellaris’ RP72, Shockwave, and George David’s RP90, Rambler, have smoked through the first 80 miles of the course. The four powerful yachts have been attaining a VMG of 15 knots since the start, hitting over 20 knots of boat speed in the gusts and waves. The lead boats were approaching the southern tip of Nevis at 1700, flying spinnakers and set to round Nevis at dusk. One of the biggest tactical decisions lies ahead; whether to cut the corner and risk the wind shadow of Nevis, or give the island a good offing to stay in the breeze. Surprisingly, the on the water leader was Bella Mente and just 20 minutes off course record pace, set by Rambler 100 in 2011.

In the Superyacht Class, the match race continues. Athos leads Adela on the water by half a mile but, on corrected time, Adela has the advantage. The two magnificent schooners have been averaging over 12 knots since the start and are having an epic duel. Heading for Nevis for the first night, the two largest yachts in the race are set for a battle behind the islands.

IRC Zero features the three boats leading on the water. Shockwave is just a mile behind Bella Mente but, due to a lower rating, Shockwave leads Bella Mente on corrected time by 15 minutes. Johnny Vincent’s TP52, Pace, is 12 miles astern of the Mini Maxis, 40 minutes behind Shockwave on corrected time. However, a lot can happen during the night as they have to pass through the lee of St Kitts which throws up a big wind shadow, difficult to see in the dark.

Blog post from Bella Mente Racing Offshore Helmsman, Mike Sanderson: “We had a great start, and it has been lovely racing all afternoon. On the long reach out to the first mark, we were able to go leeward of Rambler and take the lead, which was exciting. Rambler then passed us on the run down to Nevis, but we are catching up and look forward to more great racing aboard the mighty Bella Mente.”

Piet Vroon’s Dutch Ker 46, Tonnerre de Breskens 3, has a substantial lead on the water and after time correction in IRC One. Colin Buffin’s British Swan 62, Uxorious IV, is second on the water, however Jonty Layfield’s brand new Azzuree 46, Sleeper, is having a cracking start. Just two miles behind Uxorious IV, Sleeper is second after time correction.

Peter Sowrey’s British First 40, Lancelot II is leading IRC Two on corrected time, followed by Sunset Child and Quokka 8; however all 12 yachts in the class are battling for places with just six miles separating the entire division.

Dorade, S&S 52 Yawl at the start. Credit: Tim Wright/photoaction.comClassic S&S 52 Yawl, Dorade, is leading IRC Three on the water and after time correction. It will have been a bumpy ride on Dorade round to Green Island and, as the American classic has little in the way of freeboard, the reach to Barbuda would have been a real soaking for the crew. Second in class is Adrian Lowers’ British Swan 44, Selene, and third is a battle between Rick Ganley’s Ocean 60, Ocean Adventure, and Yuri Fadeev’s Reflex 38, Intuition.

RACE WEBSITE: Follow the race web site

Twitter: Follow @offshoreone ‘#rorcrc600’

Every yacht is fitted with a Yellowbrick Tracker and their progress can be followed on the race website:

The RORC Caribbean 600 started from Antigua on February 24, with the 600nm course circumnavigating 11 Caribbean Islands starting from Fort Charlotte, English Harbour, Antigua and heads north as far as St Martin and south to Guadeloupe taking in Barbuda, Nevis, St Kitts, Saba and St Barth’s before returning to Antigua.

Source: Event media


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